Gov’t still to finalise agreement with Global Ports

Lionel “Max” Hurst (OBSERVER media photo)

The government is one step closer to finalising its agreement with– the international company that has won the bid to manage the local cruise ports in the country, as well as the construction of a fifth berthing facility that would be able to accommodate the largest sailing vessels in the world.

Global Ports has been meeting with the Cabinet for some time to discuss its proposal with the government. On its most recent visit to Cabinet on Wednesday, the group presented a draft agreement which was examined by the ministers in an effort to reach a final contract.

Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst told reporters at yesterday’s Post-Cabinet press conference that Global Ports is to advance US $125 million for the building of a new pier that can accommodate the OASIS Class ships, the largest cruise vessels in the world.

The firm has also expressed a desire to contribute significantly to the building of new shops and other amenities along the shoreline of the ports, improve the aesthetics at the Heritage Quay Shopping Complex and participate in the upgrade of historic Fort James.

In exchange, the government will permit Global Ports to exercise management so that it can recoup its investment.

Hurst also said the precise period for its [Global Port’s] management has not yet been agreed but would form a very necessary part of the proposed agreement between the two parties.

In early October, Prime Minister Gaston Browne publicly acknowledged that while Global Ports will be managing the port facilities in the country, the government would remain the owner.

His clarification came after a cross-section of the public expressed concerns about the government’s plan to privatise the island’s port facilities.